Severe injury is a difficult burden for anyone to bear, but cases involving injured children are especially upsetting. Because of their size, children are prone to more serious injuries, and any impairment in the quality of their young lives is a tragedy.
Consider, for example, the recent story about two toddlers who were flown to emergency hospitals in New England after strong winds blew their bouncy house more than fifty feet while they were still inside.
It isn’t clear yet whether a lawsuit might be filed in that case, but if so, special legal rules will likely apply. That’s almost always the case when minors are involved.
In our state, plaintiffs under the age of 18 are subject to certain procedures and requirements that wouldn’t apply to an adult. But as frustrating as they might seem, an experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney can explain how some of these rules might actually work in an injured child’s favor.
The Statute of Limitations for Injured Minors in Arizona
Adults in Arizona must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of injury in order to recover compensation. But if the plaintiff is a child at the time of the injury, the countdown on that two-year period won’t even begin until his or her 18th birthday.
So, for example, an 11-year-old injured in a slip and fall accident in Arizona will have nine years to file a lawsuit, whereas an adult in the same incident would only have two. That’s important because serious medical complications may not manifest themselves for several years, especially in younger victims who are still growing.
Additional Procedural Requirements
Just like adults, minor plaintiffs may decide to settle their claims against a defendant. But because children can’t always understand the legal implications of a complex settlement agreement, courts may require additional review before the settlement can go forward. That’s especially true if the settlement is for a large amount or if a lawsuit has already been formally filed.
The court may ask that a judge review the terms of the settlement first, and the judge may even appoint an independent attorney to advocate for the child. Likewise, the court may require that any compensation obtained by way of settlement be held in a special bank account or another protected fund.
If your child has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in Arizona, you should talk with the Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Kamper, Estrada & Simmons, LLP right away. We are dedicated to fighting for families in our state, and we want to help you understand your rights under the law.